On Saturday June 11 at around 7pm, the Team Japspeed Subaru Impreza was stolen from the Performance Vauxhall Show at Santa Pod. Details are sparse but it’s believed two males walked into the paddock and drove the specially prepared drift car out of the main gates. Incredibly, it was filmed travelling up the M25 just 45 minutes later by a curious van driver, who wasn’t even aware it had been stolen.
Within hours, news of the theft had flooded the internet. Social networking sites were full of posts about the car and a google search revealed no less than five pages full of links to various forums and blogs.
Leading the search was the Driftworks UK forum, whose membership base spans nearly 40,000. With various sightings and snippets of information coming in, members were able to liaise with the Police and could begin to start piecing together some clues as to the whereabouts of the specially modified RWD Impreza.
Writes Geoff Robjent…
The BBC soon caught wind of the story and it was posted on the 10 o’clock news, a big breakthrough that ensured the masses would be informed.
While this was taking place, members of various car forums spent the night searching for the car, a number of sightings were made and information was relayed to the police, who in a rapid turn of events managed to track the car down early this morning.
“We cannot go into too many details due to the ongoing investigation,” said the Japspeed team on their blog this morning, “but the car was found partially stripped in the early hours of the morning (Reading area) by Thames Valley Police.”
“We will know later today if any extensive damage has been done, but right now we’re just beyond happy to have the car back relatively unscathed – it seems we got the car just at the right time.”
“Without the power of internet communities, the car probably wouldn’t have been recovered at all” said the team at Japspeed.
According to the British Crime Survey, around 117,000 cars get stolen each year in the UK alone and the Police simply don’t have the time to follow up everything. Without the mass support from the automotive community and the subsequent BBC coverage, it’s unlikely that the Impreza would have been recovered so quickly, let alone at all, which is testament to just how quickly news can spread on the internet.